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Title: Curious afterlives: the enduring appeal of the criminal corpse
Authors: Tarlow, Sarah
First Published: 2-Jul-2016
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Mortality, 2016, 21 (3), pp. 210-228
Abstract: Not only did the criminal corpse have actual medicinal and magical power for Europeans, it also had social and cultural meaning as an object, a curio or secular relic. This paper considers the appeal of notorious bodies. From books bound in the skin of a criminal, to preserved and exhibited heads, from fragments of the hangman's rope to the exhibition of the skeleton, the story of the afterlife of criminal bodies and the material culture most immediately associated with them begins with the collection and exchange of bodies and moves into contemporary preoccupations with authenticity. This paper considers the bodies of three notorious criminals of the eighteenth century: Eugene Aram, William Burke and William Corder. It ends with some reflections on the glamour of the authentic body of a notorious or celebrated individual - using the response to the discovery of the body of Richard III as an example.
DOI Link: 10.1080/13576275.2016.1181328
ISSN: 1357-6275
eISSN: 1469-9885
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License (, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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